The View From the Base

Jonah Goldberg runs an interesting email from a partisan Republican. It reminds me how much the base really does suspect McCain. Money quote:

The big problem with McCain is that he repeatedly takes a high profile stand for the Democrats on important partisan issues. He does this on important policies like W's tax cuts and torture legislation, and of course campaign finance. Even on the war he has often given credibility to the left's rhetoric about Rumsfeld, torture, administration incompetence, etc., even though he's been solid on the core substance. Its not just that he occasionally votes with the Democrats, its that he's willing to become their chief spokesman when he does it. Sure he may hold conservative views on 80% of the issues, but the other 20% seems to be what he really cares about.

What's interesting to me is that the writer doesn't actually discuss the merits of the issues involved. On the vital matter of a critical war, what is important is not whether a Republican senator address failures or missteps, but that he either support the administration's talking points or side with the Democrats. That's the only relevant choice. You see here the poisonous influence of faction, as the founders feared, inhibiting critical debates about strategy in wartime. But it is good to see more candor from the emailer. The president has indeed proposed and had enacted "torture legislation". The bad news is that the mainstream right now acknowledges the authorization of torture and supports it.